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and acting tough when he was just away for week in hawaii. everyone deserves a nice christmas holiday but not when we have serious issues that need to be addressed. i don't think the president has led on this. the american people are also partly to blame here. there was an election and he left in place everything the same. the house is the same. senate is basically the same. you voted for basically more of the same. american people don't escape blame either. >> gregg: van hollen basically has the same argument, he has been out for 12 days and vanhollen, boehner would not touk talk to him. i'm not sure i buy that. if it does go to the fiscal cliff and we go over it, sequestration would cut only $109 billion next year. that is actually not a lot in a budget of almost four trillion, is it? >> it's not a lot of the total number, half of that goes to defense which are own admirals and generals have said and secretary of defense would be devastating. this comes on top of -- $50 billion in one year to the defense. and it doesn't touch at all medicare and the other entitlement programs. >> gr
, hawaii, this morning. i'm talking to republican and democratic sources and they really feel like we're going to go over the cliff. what are you hearing? >> i'm hearing it's a very real possibility, and as you're hearing, they aren't even really talking, democrats and reyou public i had cans, the white house talks to senate democrats, but at this point, the white house is not in any real substan tiff conversations with both house republicans and senate republicans as all eyes turn to the senate, and perhaps because of that, some of the pessimism you heard from senator liberman there is shared by replicans. listen. >> when i listen to the president, i think the president is eager to go over the cliff for political purposes. i think he sees a political victory at the bottom of the cliff. gets additional tax revenue for new programs, gets to cut the military and blame republicans for it. >> attention now turns to the senate which will reconvene on thursday. the 27th. house majority leader harry reid now has the task of trying to cobble something together that could perhaps pass the sena
president obama called the top four congressional leaders last night on his way back from hawaii. tomorrow afternoon at the white house will be a meeting between the president and those top four congressional leaders and earlier the top senate democrat expressed concern or frustration saying you cannot legislate with yourself. >> the republicans in the house have left town. the negotiations between the president and the speaker have fallen apart as they have for the last three and a half years. we have tried mightily to get something done. >> now, perhaps in an effort to address that we know late today senator reid who you heard from there went to meet with his counter part senator mcconnell the top republican in the senate, perhaps talking about what it will take to bring some republicans along on a potential deal. harris? >> harris: a lot of energy spent on all this going back and forth. in fact, leading republicans suggesting a great deal of time has been wasted on politics. >> that is precisely right. they note that the house republicans tried to address the issues this summer and vote
in the new year after the president's back from hawaii. >> there are other complications. let's look at the calendar, senator kerry is chairing the public hearings on benghazi, and how we were talking about earlier, how awkward is that? he's chairing the hearings that take a part the state department, the department he's expected to be chairing, if confirmed. his own panel will have to confirm him. he's in conversations today with his colleagues and senator corker said on the show today earlier, as you heard, we can't hold a confirmation hearing, we won't, john kerry, my friend and colleague, as they say in the senate, until hillary clinton shows up, and she is out sick. so this means hearings in january on benghazi, too. >> that was a great question that you asked senator corker, isn't this awkward, and you're reporting on benghazi has been so remarkable since the very first day i remember you stayed up all night that night, now we're seeing with this report what an unfortunate way, uncharacteristic way, for secretary clinton to go out. she's had this fantastic run, unquestionably,
i appreciate your patience. >>> inouye's body will be returned to hawaii tomorrow. that's going to wrap it up for me. i appreciate your time. thanks so much for joining me. i'll see you back here on monday. don't go anywhere, though. "now" comes up next, and guest hosting ari. >> we do have a strong panel today. joining me is msnbc contributor and georgetown university professor michael eric dyson. salon.com's irene carmon, and white house correspondent for the huffington post, and the daily show co-creator and author lynn winstead. we are just one week after the tragic shooting in connecticut, and the executive vice president of the nra has now broken his silence. he says it's the good guys against the bad guys, and everyone should have a gun. i disagree. if you look today at the speech that we showed just earlier here on msnbc, it's the first time since the newtown mass murder that the nra has spoken out in a speech that brought out the protesters. >> see there? several protesters interrupting. the nra did not focus on regulating semiautomatic weapons in this address, an addre
for the holidays, the president has gone to hawaii on vacation. white house correspondent brianna keilar tells us no one is really talking, anyone, to get this solved. at least not here at christmas. >> reporter: senate democrats are not in conversations right now with senate republicans or with house republicans. and this is problematic obviously because in order to avoid the fiscal cliff, you would need to find some sort of deal that would make it through the senate and the house and that would mean democratic and republican support. right now, all eyes on the senate because they will reconvene on the 27th that is thursday. and senate majority leader harry reid, it is up to him really to cobble together something that can get some of that support. right now the white house is still supporting a threshold of $250,000 back to their initial starting point for tax rates going up for those making more than that. but you can imagine, hala, that will be very hard for some republicans, maybe even some democrats to sign on to. >> right, and, you know, for just about a week ago, it was common to hear, oh
, when the president is supposed to head to hawaii on his christmas vacation, all of this could slide. the real deadline is the end of the year, but they really need to strike a deal by christmas. and even doing that, have been waiting as long as that is something that could really roil the market. so it's also important that they do it before then, ted. >> yeah, well, hopefully the threat of missing their vacation will push them to work harder. >> it works sometimes. >> sure. brianna keilar for us this morning at the white house. brianna, thank you. this morning, some calming words on syria amid fears that the crumbling regime there could unleash chemical weapons on its own people, just days after the u.s. and other countries warned embattled president bashar al assad against such action. defense secretary leon panetta says syria may be backing away from that threat. here is what panetta said earlier this morning aboard a flight to kuwait city. >> we haven't seen anything new indicating, you know, any aggressive steps to move forward in that way. but we continue to monitor it very cl
.com/drive. >>> president obama is heading back from his holiday vacation in hawaii early in case there is a last-minute deal. the senate returns from christmas break tomorrow. house leaders say they're prepared to call members back if there is an agreement. joining us to talk about this is john avalon. he's a senior political columnist for "newsweek" and "the daily beast." we're here again. it's like groundhog day. we don't think there's going to be any kind of grand bargain at this point. what are the short-term measures? what's the best thing to hope for in the next six days? >> the best thing we can hope for is they get back to work again, suzanne. from all reports leadership isn't even talking to each other at this point. so it really is urgent. with six days left, the clock is ticking and the countdown is going on. this is not something abstract on the washington level. people need to appreciate if the country goes over the fiscal cliff, it will impact the bottom line as well. money out of their pocket in the form of tax hikes. >> we have stop gap measures. there are some things they can do
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